The Hidden Wealth of Nations
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The Hidden Wealth of Nations : The Scourge of Tax Havens

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We are well aware of the rise of the 1% as the rapid growth of economic inequality has put the majority of the world's wealth in the pockets of fewer and fewer. One much-discussed solution to this imbalance is to significantly increase the rate at which we tax the wealthy. But with an enormous amount of the world's wealth hidden in tax havens in countries like Switzerland, Luxembourg, and the Cayman Islands this wealth cannot be fully accounted for and taxed fairly. No one, from economists to bankers to politicians, has been able to quantify exactly how much of the world's assets are currently hidden until now. Gabriel Zucman is the first economist to offer reliable insight into the actual extent of the world's money held in tax havens. And it's staggering. In The Hidden Wealth of Nations, Zucman offers an inventive and sophisticated approach to quantifying how big the problem is, how tax havens work and are organized, and how we can begin to approach a solution. His research reveals that tax havens are a quickly growing danger to the world economy. In the past five years, the amount of wealth in tax havens has increased over 25% there has never been as much money held offshore as there is today. This hidden wealth accounts for at least $7.6 trillion, equivalent to 8% of the global financial assets of households. Fighting the notion that any attempts to vanquish tax havens are futile, since some countries will always offer more advantageous tax rates than others, as well the counter-argument that since the financial crisis tax havens have disappeared, Zucman shows how both sides are actually very wrong. In The Hidden Wealth of Nations he offers an ambitious agenda for reform, focused on ways in which countries can change the incentives of tax havens. Only by first understanding the enormity of the secret wealth can we begin to estimate the kind of actions that would force tax havens to give up their practices. Zucman's work has quickly become the gold standard for quantifying the amount of the world's assets held in havens. In this concise book, he lays out in approachable language how the international banking system works and the dangerous extent to which the large-scale evasion of taxes is undermining the global market as a whole. If we are to find a way to solve the problem of increasing inequality, The Hidden Wealth of Nations is essential reading.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 200 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 12.7mm | 226.8g
  • The University of Chicago Press
  • University of Chicago Press
  • Chicago, IL, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 1 halftone, 8 line drawings, 2 tables
  • 022642264X
  • 9780226422640
  • 126,400

Review quote

Zucman s work on tax havens is the first serious economic research in this area. His evaluation of the share of global household wealth that is located in tax havens has become the standard in the profession. Most importantly, this is the first work offering credible estimates of the kind of economic sanctions that would make tax havens give up the financial opacity that allows them to prosper. The conclusions are powerful. --Thomas Piketty, author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century" In this small, yet brilliant and tightly argued book, Zucman unravels the mechanisms of tax secrecy and evasion during the past century, an always lucrative activity but probably never as lucrative as it is today. The amounts involved are staggering: one out of every ten dollars of financial assets is hidden in tax havens. Zucman proposes a whole gamut of measures to put an end to this scourge, and indeed those who benefit from financial secrecy must feel uncomfortable to have to face such a formidable opponent. --Branko Milanovic, City University of New York" Offshore tax evasion is an outrage. Preventing it should be a major objective of international cooperation. This important book documents the problem and addresses what can be done. It is actionable economics at its finest. --Lawrence H. Summers, Harvard University" Drawing on his recent pathbreaking research, Zucman offers a short, lively, and non-technical discussion of tax heavens. He presents the most rigorous measurement to date of the wealth hidden in tax heavens and proposes a clear and feasible set of recommendations to fight evasion through tax heavens and restore the ability of our democratic societies to tax their wealthiest residents in this globalized world. His recommendations are already having a significant policy impact. --Emmanuel Saez, University of California, Berkeley" "Zucman's work on tax havens is the first serious economic research in this area. His evaluation of the share of global household wealth that is located in tax havens has become the standard in the profession. Most importantly, this is the first work offering credible estimates of the kind of economic sanctions that would make tax havens give up the financial opacity that allows them to prosper. The conclusions are powerful."--Thomas Piketty, author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century "In this small, yet brilliant and tightly argued book, Zucman unravels the mechanisms of tax secrecy and evasion during the past century, an always lucrative activity but probably never as lucrative as it is today. The amounts involved are staggering: one out of every ten dollars of financial assets is hidden in tax havens. Zucman proposes a whole gamut of measures to put an end to this scourge, and indeed those who benefit from financial secrecy must feel uncomfortable to have to face such a formidable opponent."--Branko Milanovic, City University of New York "Offshore tax evasion is an outrage. Preventing it should be a major objective of international cooperation. This important book documents the problem and addresses what can be done. It is actionable economics at its finest."--Lawrence H. Summers, Harvard University "Drawing on his recent pathbreaking research, Zucman offers a short, lively, and non-technical discussion of tax heavens. He presents the most rigorous measurement to date of the wealth hidden in tax heavens and proposes a clear and feasible set of recommendations to fight evasion through tax heavens and restore the ability of our democratic societies to tax their wealthiest residents in this globalized world. His recommendations are already having a significant policy impact."--Emmanuel Saez, University of California, Berkeley "Gabriel Zucman has two goals in his new book, The Hidden Wealth of Nations to specify the costs of tax havens, and to figure out how to reduce those costs. He writes with moral passion, even outrage; he sees tax havens as a 'scourge.'" "Zucman has produced an important book, above all because of his effort to calculate the magnitude of the world's hidden wealth. . . . A strong virtue of Zucman's book is that it puts a bright spotlight on an area in which significant reforms might appeal to people who otherwise disagree on a great deal. You might believe that the tax system should be made more progressive, or you might believe that it should be made less so. But whatever you think, you are unlikely to support a situation in which trillions of dollars are hardly taxed at all."--Cass Sunstein "New York Review of Books " "A short, pioneering guide to estimating the trillions of dollars moved to tax havens to evade or avoid paying taxes to the nations from which this expanding mountain of money was made. Zucman proposes measures to end the party of these giant tax escapes and make tax avoiders and evaders pay their fair share." --Ralph Nader A short, pioneering guide to estimating the trillions of dollars moved to tax havens to evade or avoid paying taxes to the nations from which this expanding mountain of money was made. Zucman proposes measures to end the party of these giant tax escapes and make tax avoiders and evaders pay their fair share. --Ralph Nader" Gabriel Zucman has two goals in his new book, The Hidden Wealth of Nations to specify the costs of tax havens, and to figure out how to reduce those costs. He writes with moral passion, even outrage; he sees tax havens as a scourge. Zucman has produced an important book, above all because of his effort to calculate the magnitude of the world s hidden wealth. . . . A strong virtue of Zucman s book is that it puts a bright spotlight on an area in which significant reforms might appeal to people who otherwise disagree on a great deal. You might believe that the tax system should be made more progressive, or you might believe that it should be made less so. But whatever you think, you are unlikely to support a situation in which trillions of dollars are hardly taxed at all. --Cass Sunstein "New York Review of Books "" Gabriel Zucman has two goals in his new book, "The Hidden Wealth of Nations" to specify the costs of tax havens, and to figure out how to reduce those costs. He writes with moral passion, even outrage; he sees tax havens as a scourge. Zucman has produced an important book, above all because of his effort to calculate the magnitude of the world s hidden wealth. . . . A strong virtue of Zucman s book is that it puts a bright spotlight on an area in which significant reforms might appeal to people who otherwise disagree on a great deal. You might believe that the tax system should be made more progressive, or you might believe that it should be made less so. But whatever you think, you are unlikely to support a situation in which trillions of dollars are hardly taxed at all. --Cass Sunstein "New York Review of Books "" Zucman has produced an important book, above all because of his effort to calculate the magnitude of the world s hidden wealth. . . . A strong virtue of Zucman s book is that it puts a bright spotlight on an area in which significant reforms might appeal to people who otherwise disagree on a great deal. You might believe that the tax system should be made more progressive, or you might believe that it should be made less so. But whatever you think, you are unlikely to support a situation in which trillions of dollars are hardly taxed at all. --Cass Sunstein "New York Review of Books ""show more

About Gabriel Zucman

Gabriel Zucman is assistant professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley. Teresa Lavender Fagan is a freelance translator living in Chicago.show more

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304 ratings
3.87 out of 5 stars
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3 22% (68)
2 5% (15)
1 1% (3)
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